Are Multiple Choice Questions Killing Critical Thinking Skills?

Conference Archive

DevLearn 2021 Conference & Expo - October 22, 2021

Diane Elkins

Artisan E-Learning

Amy Morrisey

Artisan E-Learning

System-graded multiple-choice questions are easy to write and build. But not all situations have clearly right and clearly wrong answers. A doctor has to make a decision about a tough case. A customer service rep needs to respond to a challenging customer. A manager needs to navigate a seemingly no-win situation. It's completely normal to put a discussion or writing activity into a classroom program. But try to put in an ungradable question or activity into your eLearning course and you often hear: But we can't track the answers! How will they/we know if they got it right or wrong? Or How will we know they did it? Is the ability to grade and track turning us into control freaks? If we limit our designs to questions that can easily be system-graded and tracked, we miss out on the chance to let learners practice critical thinking skills and nuanced decision-making.

In this fast-paced session, you'll learn to distinguish when the ability to grade and track is important—and when it gets in the way of doing something instructionally valuable. You'll get inspiration from real-life examples showing how learners can explore a concept and try it out for themselves in creative ways. Of course, it would be hypocritical to have a session on practice activities without giving you the chance to try it yourself. You'll consider some stereotypical multiple-choice questions and brainstorm ways to transform them into practice activities that are more helpful, relevant, and engaging. You'll walk away with tons of ideas, along with templates to help you plan out your own interactions.

In this session, you will learn:

  • To let go of your inner tracking control freak
  • To approach question/interaction design more creatively
  • To design practice activities that truly build skills
  • To create interactions that promote critical thinking

Technology discussed in this session:

Storyline, Captivate


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